If you’re a mom, you’ve no doubt heard of the 5 second rule: if your kid drops a piece of food on the floor, and you pick it up within 5 seconds, it’s still good to eat. Right?

My 5 Second Rule Story

At our house, we live by the 5 second rule. We have to. You see, I have a picky eater. He’s pictured above. He’s also very charming. And very smart.

At the dinner table, he refuses to eat anything he doesn’t like. Unfortunately for him, I don’t fix many dinners that consist entirely of chocolate and potato chips. This presents a problem for my young son.

Because he would just as soon starve than eat anything nutritious, we’ve had to institute a “you need to eat at least x number of bites” rule. That’s when he pulls out the charm.

He starts to poke his food with the fork. It takes him 5 minutes to get the fork to his mouth, and when it’s finally in the vicinity, he throws back his head with a big grin, closes his eyes, and pretends to try to get the food in his mouth. 99% of the time it lands on the floor.

That’s when the 5 second rule comes into play. Trying hard not to laugh, I pick up the piece of food, put it back on his plate, and let him know that he can now eat the food, plus the germs. Ok, I leave out the part about the germs. But I don’t let him waste the food.

Samantha Bee on the 5 Second Rule

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to The Consumer Queen interview Samantha Bee of the Daily Show about the 5 second rule. First of all, Samantha Bee is incredibly funny. Listening to the call brightened a busy day.

Samantha talked about her own use of the 5 second rule, as well as the results of a study by San Diego State University. The study, funded by Clorox, found that some foods picked up bacteria in less than 5 seconds. To read more about the study, visit SimpleandSurprising.com.

Study or no study, I’m unlikely to give up my 5 second rule ways. I hate wasting food (and wasting the money that paid for the food). Besides, my charming and intelligent son would quickly figure out that dropping food would get him out of eating dinner. And we can’t have that, can we?